Jojo Mayer guest lesson and interview – Drum Expo 2013

Jojo Mayer guest lesson and interview – Drum Expo 2013

>>What time is it?
>>Quarter past four.>>Quarter past four? Okey doke. Let’s go to
my den. Hi how are you doing? My name is Jojo Mayer.
Its about four o’clock in the morning, its been a really long day and we’ve just ended
up here. As you might have heard a couple of days ago I got the news that my friend
and former mentor, Jim Chapin, has passed away. I wanted to use this opportunity to
play a little tribute and tell you a little bit about how I met Jim, and initially how
he got me into a different set of awareness about what I was doing technically. So I met
Jim in the mid 80s at a drum festival. We were hanging out, I was performing, it was
one of the first drum festivals where I was actually playing. I must have been 24 and
it was me, xxx, Vinnie was there and Jim was there. I knew of Jim’s work. I knew of his
advanced technique for the modern drummer. But I didn’t know what Jim looked like so
at some point we all got together and we had dinner and I started to talk to Vinnie and
I asked him for some technical advice. And as a matter of fact, he said “why are you
talking to me, you should talk to this gentleman because he’s the master” He introduced me
to Jim Chapin, which then, you know, started to go right away and hurl all his knowledge
at me. To make a long story short we ended up at some point in a hotel room at, I don’t
know, 4 o’clock in the morning, with a mini bar getting ravaged. We talked about everything,
about xxxx about old times and this and that. And at some point Jim said “well let me take
a look at your hands”. And he started to give me the introduction really on the modern concept,
which you might know, I dedicated a chapter to that of my current DVD ‘Secret weapons
for the modern drummer’, which showcases a hybrid or a modernised version of the modern
technique. Because I kind of deconstructed it and I made it fit the way… yeah I just
modernised it basically. So I wanted to show you a little bit of Jim’s original approach
you know? The way it was… how he… I just can give you the surface a little bit. But
just so you have an idea, this was really how it happened. I never had formal drum lessons
with Jim. It was basically Dad, you know? And that half hour, 15 minutes kinda changed
my life. Back in the days I was a wrist player and
I played.. used the finger. Basically this is what I did. [drumming] I played from here. [drumming] If I needed to play in accents I just went
like [drumming] I didn’t really use the whipping motion which
the moeler technique is built on. So Jim really showed me how to loosen my grip a little bit,
because I was playing like this. That was my fulcrum. And Jim showed me to use this
type of grip. It was kinda a little bit like this, which in certain countries you should
not do. It should be ok around here. This is an old American Military grip where you
grip the stick at the fulcrum with those two fingers. So Jim showed me this, this type
of grip. Now Jim played more from the radius ulna rotation which is defined by this motion
as opposed to this motion. Now as I was a wrist player I adapted that stroke a little
bit. We don’t really have the time to do it right now because its a very detailed process
so if you want to know further what I did with the technique, check out Secret Weapons.
Jim used a stroke that went like this. Now what he did, he showed me how to wind up from
that motion, like – let me show this to you – like that you know? Go from this position
and lets say go… if this was a clock and this was 12 o’clock and this was 6 o’clock.
So from where you see it, basically this will be 6 o’clock and this will be 12 o’clock.
So he would wind up the stick and stay in this position, the 4 o’clock position and
go to the 3 o’clock position, and then wind up the stick as if you would be pulled up
by like an invisible string. So you have the stick dangling with this grip right? As if
it was like, you know… as if everything was a magnetic tip that gave it a little drag ok?
Now very important, in the traditional moeller technique and probably in the modern one,
is that you don’t turn your hand out but you keep it inside. So xxx always said “I don’t
want to see the inside of your palm so keep that towards yourself, that’s very important.
So you’ve got the elbow and the wrist up there. Now what you do- you just drop your elbow and
the rest follows. Its kind of like a chain reaction. So that’s the basic moeller stroke.
Like one, two, three, right? One, two, three. One, two, three. So basically that type of
motion. This goes up first and everything else follows. So its a motion that goes from
the back and comes through the front. Bam. Bam. Bam. And its not like this. Its this.
Now that’s a really really old concept. Like if you watch congo players they do the same
thing. Congo players don’t do that. Its like that, sometimes its that. So to learn how
to let the stick utilise a power that was developing from the back of my arm which went
to the front really changed my playing drastically. So basically, once you understand this motion
you can start to let the stick bounce. Now as I said, Jim played more in this position.
So this bit’s straight. I play more like this. So Jim’s thing was like… Now you can start
with- there’s three different things. There’s the full moeller which I just showed you,
there’s the half moeller which is a smaller motion and there’s a low moeller which is
like that. So I will show you the low moeller to start out with. Its basically, you just
pop up your wrist a little bit and from there you drop it. And you let the stick bounce
as many times as it goes. Bounce. One, two, three, four, five. One, two, three, four.
Or one, two, three. Or you can do like one, two, three and you wind up ready for the next
stroke. One two three. One two three, one two three, one two three…. [drumming] [drumming] And its the basic concept for that moeller
stroke. Left hand traditional is very similar. One, two, three. One, two, three. So of course
you can start to… that motion. Also make sure you don’t see the inside of that hand.
That motion. And Jim showed me how to interlace [drumming] So basically all I’m playing is… [drumming] With three or four… [drumming] So this is great
for accented…xxxx single strokes. [drumming] So you can always recognise that whipping
motion, which goes like that. However, if you want to check the modernised version which
uses more like… which is more like… more like a circular motion, you should check out
my video because its a little bit more complex than the formal way to do that, you know.
Which is really playing more sideways. Its kind of more like… actually the same thing
as with a traditional grip. Its that sort of motion. So like really the traditional
execution and the xxxx execution are very very similar. Actually like that. This is
different to this. Ok? But that’s the way Jim plays. That’s the way Jim played, like
that. I don’t do that anymore- I play like that. But the principle applies to many many
different grips. So its really… I think… I highly recommend to check out all of Jim’s
work. I mean he made a video and he made a school. Know where he came from basically.
Yeah he was just a great guy. I hope this little thing – this little demonstration brings
you a little bit closer to him. Everyone who had the privilege to meet Jim will know exactly
what I’m talking about. And if you didn’t meet him, that’s what happened. It was here,
glass of wine, and a pad. That was the great gift from Jim to me. And the great gift also to
be in possession of really good knowledge and to generously pass it on to the next guy.
This is actually what I’m trying to do here. So I hope this is useful for you or gives
you an incentive to check out more about it. I hope you enjoyed that. I’ve got to go to
sleep now. Good night.


  1. it seems as though Jojo did this tribute before he went to the recording of Aaron Spears Beyond the Chops dvd.

  2. thats perfect. i wanna do again so that i can get one more ipad :P. its not a joke, make sure you tell the address and email properly to send the giftbox. its worth a try here =>

  3. My thing has always been, how can you control rudiments playing like this? This technique doesnt make sense to me, although if there was a way to play that loose I need it. I have tennis elbow. 

  4. What made Jim great is he saw no STARS. I was a nobody drummer at NAMM when Jim was very old and he was sitting alone behind his pad. I walked up and BOOM…he starts teaching and demonstrating like I was taking a private lesson. I was taken back by this because I didn't know who he was at the time. Clearly, if this old guy was "somebody" he wouldn't be talking to ME right? Wrong…Steve Smith walks on over and no difference…THAT is a different cat!

  5. Great but, as in the Chapin (long) video, it's a struggle to get the traditional grip sequence of movements. Here Jojo describes the right in detail – enough to grasp properly – and then says "and the left is very similar" and does two slow rotations of the stroke without detailing. …But from where I'm sitting the left isn't similar at all, it's completely different being that the hand starts palm up as opposed to palm down on the right – giving a very different logic to the wrist popping up (difficult to work out how to make that actually count in the whip since the wrist is bending laterally through the stroke) – and then the stick is being 'pushed up' in the preparation almost straight out from the shoulder to raise the elbow – very different to me from the natural raising rotation of the elbow on the right.
    Mmm. Getting it… but they do seem very different. in fact the only real similarity is that the elbow is dropped to initiate the stroke. Taken me a long time to begin to work out what is really supposed to be happening on the left.

  6. You are fantastic fine sir.
    That is the key to the Moeller technique. This helped me and I'm sure others.
    R.I.P. Jim Chapin you were incredible. Thank GOD he made some videos.

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